HomeSouthlandSouthland: Where to fishLake Manapouri

Lake Manapouri

The beautiful Lake Manapouri receives low angling pressure despite being a productive fishery with shallow areas suitable for trolling or harling.

Fish type Lake Manapouri holds brown and rainbow trout, plus a few landlocked Chinook salmon, Trout range between 1-3 kg.

Lake Manapouri, with its 33 islands, is a beautiful cold and scenic lake in surrounded by bush and magnificent mountains. It is large (142 sq km), cold and deep with a 170 km shoreline.

The lake extends about 25 km west from Manapouri township and has four arms: the Hope, North, South and West.


Access map

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Manapouri is a deep lake but with shallow areas within easy reach, including the extensive flats from Frasers Beach right around to Shallow Bay, and the outlet towards Hope Arm. The best time to fish is at dawn or dusk, or on a dull day with some breeze.

Along the lake edge, fish are difficult to spot. The best shoreline fishing is between Frasers Beach and Supply Bay. Stream mouths are also a good option.

Lake Manapouri was modified for power generation in the 1960s, and occasionally the draw-off exposes sand and mud banks. Boat fishing is the best and most productive method.


Pearl Harbour at Manapouri is the only place for public boat launching.

An area off View Street is reserved for parking boat trailers and a walkway connects back to the harbour, one block away.

DOC huts are at:

- Hope Arm

- At the mouth of the Freeman Burn at the head of North Arm

- Shallow Bay on the Kepler track (Motorau Hut)

- Shallow Bay near the mouth of the Waiau River


The lake is best suited to boat fishing and the shallow water methods (trolling and harling) are most popular. On bright calm days, it's worth trying deeper fishing methods such as leadlining, jigging or downrigging.

Recommended tackle


  • Trolling line (e.g. leadline)
  • A minimum 5 m maximum 6kg monofilament leader, with a small swivel attached
  • 1m of 3.5 kg monofilament to which is attached a green or brown Cobra lure or similar with a split ring
  • followed by 20 cm monofilament with a large fly attached


As for trolling but replace the lure with a second fly.

Recommended lures

Pheasant Tail, Hares Ear, Sandy Case Caddis

Dry flies:
Coch-y Bondhu, Green Beetle, Adams,  (on small hooks)

Wet flies:
Red Setter, Hairy Dog, Mrs Simpson,

Spinners: Green or brown Cobra


Waiau River

Maraora River

Regulations (1)
Applicable to Lake Manapouri including the Waiau Arm but excluding the areas below
Region Southland regulations
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit Total: 2
Salmon: 1
Size limit (cm) No limit
Regulations (2)
Applicable to Frasers Beach to Supply Bay
Region Southland regulations


Bag limit


Size limit (cm)

1 Oct - 30 Sept

Artificial fly, spinner, bait

Total: 2
Salmon: 1

No limit

Regulations (3)
Applicable to Lake Manapouri: Those portions of the Waiau River, Mararoa River and the Waiau Arm of Lake Manapouri that are within 100m of the control gates on the Manapouri Lake Control structure, also known as the Mararoa Weir


Lake Manapouri within 100m of any part of the Real Journeys Company's Tourist Centre, Pearl Harbour, Manapouri

Region Southland regulations
Season Closed
Regulations (4)
Applicable to Lake Manapouri tributaries except the upper Waiau and the Mararoa
Region Southland regulations
Season Trout: 1 Nov- 31 May
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit Total: 2
Salmon: 1
Size limit (cm) No limit

Other fishing waters of the region